Flower pleased with Pietersen knock
England team director Andy Flower highlighted the encouragement he took from Kevin Pietersen’s valuable innings in the second npower Test victory over Pakistan.
Pietersen has struggled to find his best form since England’s ICC World Twenty20 triumph in May, but took significant steps towards that with a dogged 80 in the hosts’ first innings.
The talisman's knock helped to establish a 179-run lead, which meant Pakistan’s strong second-innings showing left England needing only 118 to win.
Pietersen was not required to bat again as his side passed that target for the loss of one wicket with a day and a half to spare.
Flower was in no doubt over the importance of Pietersen’s contribution to the triumph, despite being dropped three times in a 147-ball stay.
“They were tricky conditions to bat in the first innings,” Flower said.
“I quite enjoyed watching Pietersen battle for his runs and get 80 in a small total. That was very good for him and obviously good for the team.
“The fact that he was dropped a few times shouldn’t detract from the innings. He got 80 in a difficult situation and worked extremely hard for those runs.”
Flower was naturally delighted too with the contributions of Jonathan Trott, who made a half-century in each innings - the latter an unbeaten knock that heralded victory.
“He is feeling very confident at the moment,” Flower added. “You can see that from his footwork, which is very decisive, and he’s very decisive in his shot-making.
“He looks very solid, so I’m very impressed with him. I think he has improved and got stronger as a cricketer since (last winter’s tour of) South Africa.”
If Trott found life tough in his native country, Alastair Cook is going through a similar trough at home this summer.
Flower, however, remains entirely confident Cook will return to his best.
“Alastair Cook has been a very important member of the side for a while now,” said Flower. “He will definitely come good at some stage. He’s shown that through his international career to date.
“He’s been a very fine player for England and will continue to be so in the future.
“He’s having a hard time at the moment. There’s no doubt about that, he’ll acknowledge that, but he is doing everything in his power to get that form back.
“He’s been opening the batting on two very tricky surfaces [at Trent Bridge and Edgbaston], and it hasn’t been easy for anyone.
“When you are in bad form, things seem accelerated and exaggerated when things don’t go your way.
“You are always looking to improve and, of course, he is examining himself.
“I think he is pretty calm but he is desperate to score runs for England and he is doing everything in his power to do so.”